Gauteng MEC says Vlakfontein suspect's suicide must not derail police investigation
Gauteng MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane has expressed shock and disappointment at the news that Ernest Mabaso, the prime suspect in the Vlakfontein multiple murder case, has committed suicide.
The police confirmed on Thursday that Mabaso killed himself on Friday last week while in police custody at Cape Town Central police station.
The police had taken him there for further investigation as they were following leads, police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said.
Nkosi-Malobane said: "These developments are very unfortunate. This is no ordinary case given the number of people who died."
She said the Khoza family and the community were looking forward to learning the truth about the horrendous deaths of the seven family members.
"I would have loved for Mabaso to be probed further by the law enforcement authorities and allow the law to take its course without fear or favour as happens with other cases."
She said the authorities would continue to thoroughly investigate the case as they had been doing "prior to his untimely death”.
She said the Gauteng government would continue to offer support to the Khoza family.
"The death of this suspect should not derail our efforts to ensure that the criminal justice system gets to the bottom of this case,” said Nkosi-Malobane.
Mabaso was due to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on murder and rape charges alongside his co-accused, Fita Khupe.
Mabaso's lawyer, Makau Sekgatji, said the hearing would continue on January 29 for the court to be given Mabaso’s death certificate.
Mabaso faced seven counts of murder after he and co-accused Fita Khupe allegedly killed three women and four children of the Khoza family in October.
He also faced charges of theft after bank cards that belonged to the deceased were found in their possession.
In addition, Mabaso faced three counts of rape after he allegedly raped the three women, claiming it was under the instruction of Khupe.